Kerry McAvoy, PhD

A closer look at why we might silence victims

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Siphotography on

Recently, I told a friend that I’ve decided to put my last writing project on hold. It’s the second draft of a manuscript which describes the traumatic events that led up to my divorce. He had heard much of the story, including the psychological abuse, rampant betrayals, and the threat on my life.

My friend listened and then grew quiet. “Can I say something?” he asked.


“I’m struggling to believe what you’ve shared is true. It seems so extreme. It must be an exaggeration.”

Horrible waves of shame washed over me, along with a monsoon of self-deprecating comments. It was stupid to have told him. He didn’t need to know. …

To say nothing is hurtful

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

Many of us think telling the truth is too painful. That it’s kinder to end a relationship with silence.

We don’t do anyone a favor by not being upfront. Saying nothing often is worse.

I met a guy last summer. It was his averageness that caught my attention. He was a younger man who had served time in the military. Everything about him screamed normal. A nice guy.

He liked my profile, so I took a closer look at his. We chatted briefly, and then he suggested we meet. A few days before our first introduction, he bowed out. …

And has given me a sense of belonging

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

Why do you write?

I’ve been giving that question a lot of thought. Of course I’d love to see my name on a book’s spine. Yes, it would be great to stand at a podium and read a passage of mine. A big royalty check would be nice too.

But these aren’t the reasons I write. There’s something much deeper going on: It is a desire to connect with others.

Writing Communicates a Bigger Truth

Writing in various forms has informed me, shaped some of my opinions, and broadened my perspective; I’ve been educated and entertained. …

And the life lesson I’ve learned

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

Life seems hellbent to teach me a few lessons, particularly the importance of living in the moment.

It was in the middle of June’s heat when I rushed to my son’s bedside. At twenty-eight years of age, he had been living on his own for several years.

I was on vacation over a thousand miles away when I got the call that something was wrong. I first laid eyes on my grown boy around midnight, after traveling all day.

His previously sturdy body was now frail, his skin an odd translucent white. Vivid greenish-blue veins lined the back of his hands and inner forearms. …

Choose to live big-heartedly

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by LOSphoto on

It is just me or have we, as a nation, lost our big-heartedness? Our spirit of generosity? This past week I experienced two separate incidents that drove home a disturbing picture of our growing lack of tolerance.

A recent TikTok video clip went viral that I think captures our current climate of narrow-mindedness. The creator, Lubalin, took a text message thread and set it to music.

In this clip, three women discussed their relationship with an old friend named Caroline. One lady claimed that Caroline had stolen her broccoli casserole recipe eight years ago. …

It’s possibly left me with permanent injuries

Image for post
Image for post
Photos by YakobchukOlena on

I have recently gone through something that I haven’t been ready to share until now. It’s so shockingly unbelievable that I feel ill just thinking about it.

At first, it seemed too inconceivable to be real, but my health has been affected — maybe permanently.

My hands are shaking as I type this:

I suspect my last husband tried to kill me. He may have been slowly poisoning me, most likely with arsenic.

Arsenic has been a poisoner’s longtime favorite. In Britain mid-nineteenth century, it was murderers’ most common substance of choice. It’s a tasteless and odorless chemical that is soluble in water and its initial symptoms mimic food poisoning. Fiona Kov points out in “Death by Arsenic,” that when administered in small doses over a long period of time, arsenic poisoning [is] very difficult to detect. The symptoms — gastrointestinal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, and dehydration — [mimick] many common illnesses. …

I’m done with shame and fear

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Exlutka on

I want to share something with you — something I’ve been doing for the past couple of months. I’ve been writing about sex under the pen name of Marie Lynne. I will continue to keep the two identities separate, yet I’ve decided to promote this work openly.

Why I’m Writing About Sexuality

I grew up in the Evangelical church that touted the importance of sexual purity. I heard wildly contradictory messages. “Good girls don’t, but boys will be boys.” I need to walk like a lady and dress modestly. To be pleasing and not ask for too much. I needed to know my place.

Yet, the world of my childhood was dangerous. Many of the boys and men were sexual predators. I was repeatedly sexually assaulted, ranging from being verbally accosted to violently raped. …

This problem is more common than you’d think

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

Online dating has given me an uncomfortable look at what it means to be a love addict.

The entire process is intoxicating. That includes the first glance at a profile to texting someone and finally meeting. I try to stay detached during this initial stage. Yet, in the back of my head, I hate to admit that I enjoy the first rush of excitement too much.

Online dating has forced me to take a long, hard look at myself. What I’ve discovered is deeply disturbing. I now wonder if I used to be addicted to love.

My First Experience with a Love Addict

I met my first love addict when I was a practicing psychologist. During our initial counseling appointment, an attractive young woman said she had a problem and described a string of failed relationships. …

Here’s a few thoughts on why and what I’m doing about It

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

It’s Christmas again, and this year, I can’t seem to get into the mood.

True, the COVID pandemic with its restrictions about getting together doesn’t help, but that’s not the cause. This time of year has become associated with sad memories. It’s triggering for me.

I suspect I’m not alone.

This season used to make my dad blue. He’d withdraw from his family and become quieter than usual. I suspect the years he spent living with an alcoholic stepfather played a role in dampening his holiday spirits. He passed away eleven years ago.

My husband became depressed about now too. He’d look back over the past twelve months to see how he did with disappointment. He’d fail to see his financial gains, the completed projects, and new relationships in his life. For some reason, his successes never measured up. …

Accepting my brokenness has helped to heal my insecurities

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Ridofranz on

After waiting for my date to show up for nearly an hour, I returned to my car to leave. I’d been stood up. A common occurrence that it had never happened to me until now. It’d hurt more than I’d expected.

This guy seemed terrific, unlike most of the other men I’d texted on the dating apps. I wanted to impress him. To put my best foot forward, hard to do when I wasn’t feeling my best. I’d gained some extra weight since the start of the pandemic.

But it was more than the number on the scale that made me self-conscious; I also wear wigs. …


Kerry McAvoy, PhD

Psychologist/Author. Quora & Medium Top Writer. Mom of three, Autistic woman, Relationship expert

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store